Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pizza Pie (Deep Dish Pizza)

I saw this pie somewhere and could not stop myself from making it.

Sometime back I did a lot of research on Pizzas for a personal project. I think that's when I became a much bigger fan of Pizzas. I love them. Though I am very specific  about my pizza. There is no such pizza as bad pizza but I like the thin crust style the most. There has been one more change now. I usually don't order pizza, I make them at home.

For dough, I have my favorite Jamie Oliver recipe which I love and am glad that I discovered it and tried it. A dear person, Cliff, shared a tomato sauce recipe with me recently, which I gladly tried and am happy that I did.

This is not exactly a Chicago style deep dish pizza. This is a pizza pie. It is about one inch tall and is thin crust. I loaded it with two layers of cheese and lots of vegetables and the yummy tomato sauce.

This Pizza Pie gives an instant high. It looks interesting and tastes amazing. The pie had a great crust and in the middle it was all gooey and cheesey.

It is a must try recipe for everyone. The process of making the pizza was so interesting, obviously the eating part is always fun. ;)

Pizza Pie
Recipe Adapted From: Deep Dish Pizza

Pick up the pizza dough recipe from here: Vegetable Pizza with homemade dough. It makes about 3 medium and one regular size pizza.

For Sauce:
Makes sauce for about 4 pizzas
Recipe source: Cliff Garzzillo

1. 7-8 medium sized tomatoes
2. bunch of fresh basil leaves
3. Freshly ground black pepper
4. Oregano
5. 5-6 tbsp Olive oil
6. Salt to taste

1. Crush the tomatoes and mix with all the other ingredients in a baking pan. Check if the tomatoes taste fine. Add a tsp of sugar if tomatoes are very sour.
2. Cook for about an hour at 180 degree Celsius in the oven. Alternatively you can also cover and cook on gas until soft and all mashed up.

Vegetable Topping:
You may use any kind of topping you like. I am putting down what I used.

1. 200 g button mushrooms - Chop in chunks
2. 1 big capsicum - Chop in chunks
3. 1 large red onion - Chop in chunks
4. 2-3 green chilies - Finely chopped
5. freshly ground black pepper
6. red chilly flakes - to taste
7. salt to taste
8. oregano - to taste
9. 1-2 tbsp olive oil

1. Saute the vegetables in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms just a minute before.
2. Sprinkle the seasonings as per your taste. Do not put salt yet. Put salt just when you are about to assemble the pie as mushrooms release a lot of moisture when salt is applied.

Other ingredients:
A lot of grated cheese. I used Amul Processed Cheese. You may use Mozzarella, Cheddar or any other kind.

Steps to assemble:
1. Roll some dough out. It should be enough to cover a 9 inch pie pan. Roll as thin as possible.
    You may have your pie pan of some other size in which case you  need to roll out accordingly.
2. Grease the inside of the pie pan with olive oil. Grease well so that the pizza pie does not stick.
3. Cover the pie pan with the rolled out dough. Remove the extra dough from the edges.
4. Spread cheese in the pie pan.
5. Spread vegetables on top of cheese. Garnish with salt now.
6. Now roll out some more dough. Roll as thin as possible.
7. Spread this over the vegetables (Refer the pic)
8. Spread sauce on the top of this layer. You can garnish with some chilly flakes.
9. Spread another layer of cheese.
10. Bake at 200 for about 40 minutes or until done. If you see that the bottom is not crisp or cooked properly, take the pie out of the pie pan (by now pie would be crisp and sturdy) and place it directly on the baking tray. Cover up the top with aluminium foil if it gets browned up but the base is still not cooked. Cook for few more minutes. (It happened with me. I took a few pictures and then realized that the base needed some more cooking. I then put the pie back in the oven. That explains the darker color of a pie piece. Rest of the photos were taken before these final few minutes of cooking )

As the pictures suggest, it was completely amazing. I thank all the people who have been the inspiration and source of recipes. In fact, I thank myself for making this and giving me this opportunity to eat such awesome stuff. ( A short thank you note.. ;))

Have a fun weekend guys. :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sweet Bread Pudding

Somehow I have escaped making puddings. Today I made pudding for the first time ever. A group that I am a part of, had mentioned pudding as the weekly target. So pudding struck me maybe there. Also when you have never made something and you are trying to avoid it, it keeps coming back to you. The more you try to avoid it, the more it will cross your paths. And why do you need to avoid something? I ask myself a lot of time. Shouldn't you be more excited and open towards the things you have not tried? Well, ideally yes. But I am not a perfect being. I never was. In fact, I feel that I am a highly imperfect one. So much more room to improve and do things in a better way. Cooking is one of the mediums which tells me the same. Everyday whenever I cook or I see what other people have made, I realize the importance of learning and to the extent I still have to learn. 

Be always open to learn new things from whom so ever. This is what is going to shape your present and future and will later become your past. 

Yeah, so the post is about bread pudding. Puddings have always sound inviting to me. I started with a simple sweet bread pudding. I modified the recipe as per my liking and the result was very nice.

Bread pudding is a good way to use up lying around stale bread. So if you have some, get going with this simple and delicious pudding. It is very easy to make it and you can enjoy it in breakfast, dessert or to calm down your midnight hunger pangs. You can also add dry fruits, fresh fruits, rum, lemon zest, orange zest, brown sugar etc for extra taste and flavor. 

Bread Pudding
Baking Equipment: 9X7 baking tin/pan
Recipe adapted from: Sweet Bread Pudding

1. 9-10 pieces (6 cups) of whole wheat bread (You can use any kind of bread that you like. Sweet buns, cinnamon rolls etc would add some distinctive taste and flavor. I though cooked with normal bread as I did not have any saved up bread)
2. 2 tsp vanilla extract
3. 1 tsp cinnamon powder
4. 4 eggs
5. 250 g granulated sugar
6. pinch of salt
7. 2 tsp coffee powder
8. 500 ml milk
9. butter for greasing

1. Grease a pan with butter
2. Cut or tore the bread pieces into bite sized chunks
3. Place/arrange the bread pieces in the pan
4. Whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, sugar, salt, coffee and milk together in a separate bowl
5. Pour over the milk mixture into the pan over the bread
6. Cover and refrigerate the pan for an hour or overnight so that the mixture is well absorbed by the bread
     (I kept it overnight)
7. Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius
8. Bake the pudding pan in the oven for about 45-55 minutes
    (Toothpick inserted shall come out clean)

Keep aside for sometime so that it cools down a bit. Serve hot. 

Absolutely warm, delicious, homely and comforting pudding. You may reduce the amount of sugar if you take desserts a bit on the lower side of sugar. 

Have fun baking and eating guys :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pohe (Flattened Rice)

I am at a new place. I think its either my steps or just coincidence but something or the other keeps happening to the gas stove since the day I have come. We have multiple other options like induction plate and my otg. The induction plate though detects utensils as per its own liking and there is really nothing much you can do about it. I thought I would not act brave and cook something simple for breakfast. What could be more simpler and lighter than Pohe? :)

I want to start posting more frequently for the quick recipes section. I want to post like one recipe per day so that my readers and friends have more options if they want to make something quickly for them. Let me try and settle up the systems here at the new place and I would be more frequent, a lot more frequent.

Pohe is a breakfast or one such food item that is eaten through out India and people have their own versions of it. Do get down at train stations in Rajasthan or Gujarat to enjoy it. I do that when I travel and I enjoy the Rajasthani verison most. They have a steamed verison of Pohe and not the sauteed one and they garnish it with sev, onion and Chaat masala. The Maharashtrian and Gujarati version has some sugar also.

I have been making Pohe since my childhood. It has been the same recipe through out with minor changes as per the geographical region where I am at that moment. In up north, I make the simple mom version of Pohe and in down south or in Maharashtra, I add a few flavors and tantrums such as curry leaves and pea nuts. Both are beautiful additions I must say. I have to soon make rice flakes the Rajasthani way though.

People think it is hard to make pohe as sometimes they get too sticky. There are very simple tricks to make them and the simplicity keeps the deliciousness intact. Also it depends on the type or variety of Pohe. The sticky version of Pohe is also liked by some people. This time, I also used the not so perfect Pohe, so they got a little sticky but I enjoyed them. Try to buy a good variety and the one which has small rice flakes. The bigger rice flakes absorb more water and hence turn more sticky. So buy a good variety, cook with a few tips I give you and you should be good to go.

Nonetheless they are always delicious, light, healthy, easy and super quick.

Pohe (Flattened Rice)
Preparation Time: 8-10 minutes
Makes for 1

1. 1 tbsp olive oil
2. 1 tsp mustard seeds
3. 4-5 curry leaves
4. peanuts - as per taste
5. 1 red onion - finely chopped
6. 1 green chilly - chopped
7. a bowl full of Pohe/rice flakes (basically take a handful or heap up one of the bowls you use for pudding)
8. 1 large pinch red chilly powder (adjust as per taste or put one more green chilly)
9. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
10. salt as per taste
11. juice from quarter lemon ( I love lemon a lot more and hence I sometimes use half a lemon for just one portion of pohe)
12. coriander leaves to garnish

1. Heat up a pan or wok
2. Add 1 tbsp olive oil (makes it even healthier)
3. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves.
4. Add peanuts and roast them (if you already have roasted peanuts you don't need to do this).
    This will take about 4-5 minutes (basically until the peanuts brown up a little).
5. Add onion & green chilly when peanuts are ready and saute them till onions turn translucent.
6.  Now while the onions are being sauteed, wash the rice flakes.
This is a very important step. Do not soak them in water. Just put in the water and take out or run through water for a few seconds. The longer you expose them to water, the more water they will absorb and the stickier they would get. That is why the larger rice flakes gets sticky as they have larger capacity to soak water.
7. Now add the rice flakes to the onion.
8. Sprinkle salt, red chilly powder, turmeric powder and  lime juice.
9. Mix well but with a light hand. If you apply too much strength, rice flakes will be mashed.
   So husbands and boyfriends or my fellow male readers please be nice & gentle. :)
10. Saute the rice flakes for a minute till they get warm. No need to keep frying them else they will turn crunchy.
11. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve warm.

It is the fastest , lightest breakfast you could imagine and absolutely tasty too. Enjoy with hot tea or coffee. You can also sprinkle sev over Pohe and add some crunch to it. Some people also eat pohe with tomato ketchup. I used to do that too but not anymore. ;) You may try.

Well have fun cooking and eating Pohe. Now the weekend is here, it would also make a nice weekend breakfast if you are preparing for a heavy lunch.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chicken Curry

It was time for some chicken for soul. I wanted something simple and it has been sometime that I had eaten chicken. There was lots of chicken kept at home and I had to finish it. I was travelling again and my sister is not comfortable cooking chicken.

I am in a train again and it's fun as always. The train journey gives you a lot of time. I watch movies, chat with friends, write, think and observe. Lately I have done so many journeys in train. They were all wonderful. :)

Back to the chicken curry.

This chicken curry is easy to make and taste wonderful. The chicken was well cooked, soft and juicy. The curry was delicious.

It is a quick fix and you don't need to marinate the chicken. It requires basic ingredients which everyone has (if you cook Indian curries). You can use this recipe (and replace chicken) for making other curries as well. Replace chicken with vegetables or prawns or whatever.

Here you go :)

Chicken Curry for Soul
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Makes for 2

1. 3 tbsp oil
2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
3. 5-6 curry leaves
4. Whole spices - bayleaf, 1 -2 star anisse, 2-3 cloves, 2-3 black pepper corns
5. 1 tbsp  ginger garlic paste
6. 1 whole onion - chopped julienne
7. 2 chopped tomatoes
8. 2 whole chicken breasts - chop as per the size of your liking
9. 1/2 tsp red chilly powder
10. 1 tbsp coriander powder
11. 1 tsp turmeric powder
12. 1/4 tsp dry mango powder (or add yogurt to bring some sourness)
13. 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
14. salt to taste
15. coriander leaves to garnish
16. water

1. Heat up a wok. Add the oil and let the oil warm up.
2. Add cumin seeds and whole spices. Let these roast.
3.  Add onion and fry for a few minutes (keep frying even after they turn translucent). Frying onion to a darker color brings in the color and flavor in the curry.
4. Add ginger garlic paste and mix well.
5. Now add all the spices. If using yogurt instead of dry mango powder, then don't add it yet. Fry the spices for a minute.
6. Add tomatoes and let them cook.
7. When tomatoes become squishy add the chicken.
8. Let the chicken cook for about 8 - 10 minutes. You can check if it is cooked by cutting a piece with knife.
9. Add yogurt and cook for a minute.
10. Add water as and when needed. Keep the curry as liquid as you want it.
11. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with chapati or rice.

The taste of the curry is amazing. It is a simple style curry which is the base for other vegetables as well. Whole spices and the ginger garlic paste add a different aroma to the curry. Cook the chicken well and rest all will turn out to be amazing automatically.

Happy cooking and eating guys :)